The 2018 growing season was not without its challenges. We saw particularly high rainfall in November and December 2017, filling us with optimism for the months ahead. As it turned out, that rainfall preceded one of the driest spells recorded during a January to March period, with no significant rain falling before the end of March.
These particularly dry, warm seasons - the kind we seem to be experiencing on slightly more regular basis - are the inherent reason we chose to explore these varieties on our site back in 2008. It was extremely satisfying for us to see how well these varieties performed under such conditions. We believe the two ‘Marli Russell by Mount Mary’ wines from 2018 are the strongest we have made to date under this label.
This wine includes all four red varieties from our Marli Russell plantings: 55% Grenache, 20% Shiraz, 20% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault. It was always the intent for this blend to be Grenache dominant (at least 50%) and now having worked with these varieties in the vineyard for 10 years we are convinced more than ever that this is such an important aspect. We truly love the way Grenache grows on our site and it is this variety we hope dictates the wine’s style. A wine of elegance, with beautiful mid-palate fruit sweetness combined with savoury attributes and fine-grained tannin. It is matured in larger-format oak barrels to preserve freshness, fruit vibrancy and energy.
Destemmed, with 100% whole berries going into the open-top fermenter. Pumped over for the first four days, after which the wine was plunged three times a day. All up, the wine spent 10-14 days on skins. The Grenache was raised in seasoned large-format oak (1600L), while the Shiraz went into two- to four-year-old barriques. The Cinsault and Mourvèdre went into older barriques. The wines were aged for 14-16 months. They were bottled unfined after a coarse filtration.
This wine has a strikingly bright, vibrant hue when first poured into the glass. The nose is bursting with small red-berry aromas and spice. It quickly draws you back in for another look as it slowly reveals it’s many layers of complexity. On the palate there are raspberries, strawberries, cherries and spice. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant and refined but with great concentration and length of flavour. While not necessarily needing time to age, we suspect it will flesh out even further over the coming years. - Sam Middleton, Mount Mary